Letter: Letter to the Editor Nikki Hercamp

To the editor:

Social media. It is a blessing and a curse.

It is a blessing to catch up with old friends and family you may not see often. It is a curse because many times, things are written that are hurtful, things are commented on without thought, pictures are often shared that are thoughtless.

Let me explain. On June 21, my nephew, Zach Trotter, was killed in an automobile accident. The accident was called into 911 at approximately 10:05 a.m. An automobile accident is tragic without the added grief that occurred for my family.

My sister was at her work when she received a message that said, "Please tell me this isn’t true." She looked on Facebook, and by that time, the first message had been posted: RIP Zach Trotter. Imagine finding out your child had died like that.

Postings started happening prior to my mom and Zach’s Nana and other immediate family were even told. Our family lives all over the United States, and we had no time.

I was calling people screaming into the phone as I rushed home from work. We couldn’t get the calls made fast enough.

On top of all of this, one person took a picture of the van being towed down the highway. Another person filmed the accident scene as they drove by. All were shared to social media.

While we cannot change the hurt that happened to our family, we can ask that you think before you post. Please allow the victim’s family to say something themselves. We realize a lot of people are hurting, and we understand the need to express regrets.

In this day and age with social media, it almost feels like there is a race to be the first to post something newsworthy. My family would ask that each of you have a conversation with your kids, grandkids and even yourselves to understand the impact being the first to post can have on grieving families. There is no way someone’s loved one’s death should be blasted on Facebook prior to family being told. Thank you.

Nikki Hercamp, Seymour